Unbeknownst to the Jewish LGBTQ marchers walking together during the recent Celebrate Israel Parade, their ranks were infiltrated by the anti-Israel group, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP).
When the LGBTQ group approached 72nd Street, a handful of JVP activists suddenly unplugged the music speakers and removed their rainbow-striped Israeli flag shirts to display red JVP T-shirts that said, “DEADLY EXCHANGE.” They attempted to block the parade. After a scuffle, they were arrested for trespassing and disorderly conduct.
The deceptive and reckless behavior displayed by JVP must be condemned. JVP’s executive director said the LGBTQ cluster was “a carefully chosen target.” As a minority within a minority, Jewish LGBTQ individuals marching in the Celebrate Israel Parade face many social and emotional obstacles to coming out publicly as both LGBTQ and supportive of Israel. It is highly significant that the LGBTQ community is welcomed as part of the annual Celebrate Israel Parade.
After the June 2016 horrific attack at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, JVP released a statement saying, “We must continue to put all our energies into standing strong against homophobia.” But there is no pride in claiming to stand against homophobia while strategically choosing to deceive, infiltrate, sabotage, and block an LGBTQ group from their free expression.
Promoting the idea that every LGBTQ individual must think alike or share the same political opinions denies them any freedom of thought and holds them to a different standard than all others.
JVP’s actions at the parade were also irresponsible and dangerous.
Jewish Voice for Peace has the right to freedom of speech. However, these disruptors do not have the right to trespass on the parade route and attempt to sabotage this annual celebration.
All the groups marching in the parade, from progressives to conservatives, have chosen to be part of the Celebrate Israel Parade. Together they demonstrate broad mainstream support for Israel’s rich heritage, vibrant culture, diverse peoples and historic achievements. By attempting to disrupt the Celebrate Israel Parade, Jewish Voice for Peace publicly displayed its separation from the mainstream American Jewish community.
Noam Gilboord, director of the Celebrate Israel Parade at the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York.
Mordechai Levovitz and Rachael Fried, executive director and assistant director, respectively, of JQY, Jewish Queer Youth.